Kalispell’s Airport Tower Closure Brings Mixed Emotions for This Private Pilot
By OutdoorAly

Posted: March 31, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that Glacier Park International Airport’s control tower is one of 149 across the country that will close in April due to nation-wide federal sequestration.

While some are wondering what impact it will have on residents of Montana, and our growing tourism industry, I am wondering what it will be like to fly the Flathead Valley without the security of an eye in the sky.

IMG_5345

Above photo is an aerial view of approach to Glacier International Airport

Residents of Montana enjoy a lifestyle of freedom in nearly all facets of life. We enjoy our open space and the many ways to recreate in it, including flying. So while not having a towered airspace can provide private pilots like myself a little more freedom to navigate scenic space at our own discretion, having a towered airport is a much appreciated asset to the pilot community.

During my first solo cross-country flight in my training I flew from Missoula International airport to Glacier Park International airport in Kalispell. I remember white knuckling it all the way across Flathead Lake, and the comforting sound of a voice from the tower at Glacier International directing me in to land was such a relief.

And during the hub of tourism season, commercial flights transporting tourists in and out of Glacier International will provide an added element of risk for all pilots in the area.

I can’t help but feel like this closure is just the first step in the loss of many services provided to help us Montanans enjoy our open space. Hopefully we can endure the sequester as we watch our state and national park visitor services, hours of operations and seasons diminish. And of course I will miss the comforting voice from tower at the end of a long flight directing me safely to the ground at Glacier International Airport.

Montana is a great place to learn to fly, check out my blog www.406aviatrix.wordpress for more fun videos and flight footage around Montana.

Check out the video footage from my first solo cross-country to Glacier International Airport.